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It's A Dog's Life - YOUR Dog's! Newsletter, Issue #002 -- Halloween and Your Dog
October 18, 2005
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Issue 2, October 2005

Table of Contents

A Scary Time

These Steps Will Help Keep Your Dog Calm

November Is Not Candy Month For Your Dog!


A Scary Time

October is a scary month for dogs. Well, actually it's only the last few hours of the last day of the month -- Halloween night.

Dogs like routines. Get up, go out, eat, sleep, go out, eat, sleep, .... Trick or treat night disrupts the routine with a lot of noise, a lot of children, and a lot of costumes.

The doorbell rings constantly, or knocks on the door come every few seconds. Children shout "Trick or treat!" as you open the door. And those costumes don't help either. Even a dog with impaired hearing would be nervous of the bewildering array of masks, wigs, face paint, and unusual clothing at the door.

These Steps Will Help Keep Your Dog Calm

There are several things you can do to help your dog deal with or avoid the stress of Halloween.

  1. If you're taking the kids out to collect some treats, don't take your dog with you. Leave him at home, where the familiar surroundings will help him through the night.

  2. Be sure he's been out for a bathroom break before the excitement begins. That way you'll know that he can make it through the next three hours or so.

  3. Do you have a room away from the front door where he can stay? Put him there before the noise starts, and keep him there until the last of the trick-or-treaters have gone. Make it as comfortable for him as you can. Move his food and water dishes to the room, and his bed if he has one. (Water is especially important, as increased stress levels will increase thirst.)

    Play some soothing music for him. Does he have a favourite CD? Play that at a volume loud enough to mask the doorbell or knocking. Also leave a couple of his comfort items -- his favourite toy or a bone.

    If you don't have a room where you can keep him, ensure that he is securely tied up. Frightened dogs tend to bite or run away. You don't want him biting the kids, and you don't want him bolting out of the house, where he might run onto the street.

  4. There are four different ways to treat your dog's nervousness on Halloween night. None involve drugs.

    • Give him a herbal remedy one to two hours before Fright Night starts. Most herbal remedies for dogs include chamomile and other calming herbs, but since they are ingested, they don't take effect for an hour or more. They're also useful if your dog doesn't travel well in the car, and for noisy situations like fireworks.

    • A homeopathic remedy can help relieve nervousness in general, including loud situations like fireworks displays and fireworks. Homeopathy works to restore balance in any situation where there's imbalance. They aren't designed for one-off applications. If you start treating your dog a few days before Halloween, he should be much less nervous or skittish on the big night. You can also use these remedies to treat separation anxiety and nervousness, for a lasting cure.

      The two products I recommend are Homeopet Anxiety and Newton Homeopathics Nervousness .

      Although homeopathic remedies do not have side effects, I recommend you speak to a vet trained in homeopathy before using any remedy.

    • Dog appeasing pheromones (DAP for short) are very fast-acting, but provide only short-term relief. These pheromones mimic the calming and nurturing scent a mother gives off when nursing her pups.

      Comfort Zone has a product that distributes the pheromones with a diffuser. Just plug it into an electrical outlet in the room where you'll be keeping your dog. It will start to calm your dog within minutes. DAP is also great for lessening separation anxiety during those times when he's left alone in the house.

    • Aromatherapy can also help your dog. It works the same way as DAP, but instead of pheromones, it uses essential oils of calming herbs and flowers. The diffuser spreads them throughout the room. When your dog inhales the scent, the part of the brain dealing with nervousness and anxiety is quieted.

  5. Look in on him as often as you can, and give him some words of encouragement. When it's all over, let him out and reward him with a treat or two.

November Is Not Candy Month For Your Dog!

After your kids are home, and they're counting and sorting through their loot, be sure to speak them about not feeding the dog candy. Chocolate is toxic to dogs (and cats), and the sugar and fat in most candy can contribute to or worsen diabetes and pancreatitis. For more on these foods and others that you should not give your dog, see Toxic Foods at Dog First Aid 101.


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